Both Brother Ali and P.O.S (whose praises we have sung before) put out some top-notch records this year. But I'm also willing to say that fellow Twin Citians Eyedea and Abilities put out maybe my favorite single song in "Spin Cycle". Let's celebrate some Twin Cities hip-hop, shall we?
Let's start with a Brother Ali, playing live in the Current studios (not to brag, but The Current is the coolest public radio station, ever. I say "not to brag" because I had nothing to do with its creation. I do contribute small amounts of money to its operation, though. So I guess I basically do help make the station exist. Yay me!) The woman talking to Brother Ali is Mary Lucia, who is simply the finest DJ I've ever had the pleasure to listen to.
Here is Brother Ali with "The Preacher".
Up next, P.O.S., whose album "Never Better" is my favorite hip-hop record of 2009. P.O.S. is a Hopkins product (I may or may not work with someone who went attended junior high with him, back in the day. Minnesota is like that. A few hundred thousand people, congregated around a bend in the Mississippi, but you will always be 3 degrees away from the famous folks--I also know a guy who went to high school with Seann William Scott, and I worked with Josh Hartnett's aunt.) That's all off topic. My main point is that "Never Better" continues to do what P.O.S. has been attempting to do for awhile, which is to organically wed punk music and rock music and hip hop all together, without feeling like a stunt or a gimmick. The video for Drumroll matches the intensity of the lyric and music (and there could not be a more appropriate title for a song).
This last song is not from an album that hit the AV Club's Top 25, but like I said at the top, it may be my favorite hip-hop from 2009. It's from Eyedea and DJ Abilities. Eyedea made his bones by showing up to various contests in NYC, and fucking shit up. He's a crazy freestyler, despite his homeless looks. And he, like P.O.S., has also been experimenting with other styles of music, especially punk. While P.O.S. is probably more political, Eyedea writes some devastating lines about relationships. So, your punk analogues are possibly The Clash vs. say, I don't know, The Replacements? That's probably a bit (a lot) overblown, but man, do I love "Spin Cycle". Enjoy!